Dubai – that magical city of a million lights, buzzing with life and smelling of money - is a city that must be seen to be believed. What makes Dubai truly irresistible to people from all walks of life is not just the city’s magnificent attractions – it’s the high-octane vibe of the place. The feeling you get only in Dubai that anything and everything is within your reach. Dubai challenges and excites you, by weaving such a rich, unique and unforgettable tapestry of experiences that you’ll keep coming back for more.
Dining like a royal at the Burj Al Arab
Yes, a single meal at the Burj Al Arab can set you back by a great deal of money, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Why not feel like royalty just for one day? The palatial hotel with its magnificent architecture and majestic interiors will totally distract you from what’s on your plate. However, that doesn’t mean that the cuisine isn’t passable. The Burj Al Arab appoints only the finest Cordon Bleu chefs in the world, so do enjoy your food.
Going back in time with an overnight desert safari
The daytime safari into the deserts is memorable, but the overnight desert safari takes you back to a different era. You’ll be traversing the routes taken by the ancient Bedouins along the dark dunes. The serene, moonlit landscapes of shimmering black dunes are capped by a black night sky lit with a million stars. It’s the sort of thing fairytales are made of. A buffet dinner in a Bedouin tent and an unbelievably beautiful sunrise ends your night safari. You can book special desert safari excursion with a tour company, and enjoy a memorable time with your loved ones in one of the most serene locations in the world.
Dubai’s atrociously elaborate, and outrageous waterparks offer the perfect wet adrenaline rush after a day in the sweltering heat. The Aquaventure Waterpark’s crazy rides and slides – the Neptune, the Towers of Poseidon and more will keep you enthralled. The Atlantean flyer zip line offers a scintillating bird’s-eye view of the waterpark below. There are cabanas and lounge chairs, where you can relax with a cocktail while your kids enjoy the rides. Cool yourself in the massive wave pool and snigger at the heat of the sun.
The greatest mall experience in the world
Dubai Mall has over 1,200 retail outlets and 160 restaurants that serve up every cuisine in the world. It’ll take days to visit all the shops here. Touch noses with over 300 marine species from the underwater acrylic tunnel of the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. The Dubai Ice Rink, set right within the Dubai Mall is a fabulous artificial ice rink for skaters. There’s also the enchanting SEGA Republic theme park, where your kids can enjoy over 150 amusement games. In short, it isn’t a mall just for shopping – it’s a celebration of life in a way that only immense wealth and imagination can conjure.
The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain, the world's largest fountain is set on the magnificent 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake. The fountain shoots water to 500 feet high in time to the excitingly choreographed music. The best way to enjoy the Dubai Fountain is to take a traditional abra ride on the Burj Lake. You’ll get priceless front-row seats to the once-in-a-lifetime, compelling spectacle of the dancing fountain. The Dubai Fountain dances to a varied melody selection, from Arabic tunes to classical tunes. The sight of the multi-colored water assuming interesting shapes as it dances on the 30-acre lake is to be seen to be believed.
Up and away on a hot air balloon
Imagine floating into the sky on a hot air balloon in the dewy early morning over the heart of the Arabian Desert 4,000 feet above the ground. You can watch camels striding over the dunes from high above, and if you’re lucky, glimpse a few gazelles as well. Watch the UAE’s national bird, the falcon, as he makes daring sweeps in the clear blue sky. Your balloon ride ends with breakfast at traditional Bedouin camp in the desert. Evening hot air balloon flights are the best way to experience the magic of a desert sunset, some cultural entertainment on the dunes, and a hearty dinner beneath the stars.
Ice in the desert
After days of Dubai’s sweltering heat and you’ll look forward to some ice and snow. Ice and snow in the Middle East? Yes, indeed. The Chillout Ice Lounge hands you thermal clothing the moment you enter, and if that doesn’t make you smile, there are endless frosty drinks on the menu! How about going snow skiing indoors, in Ski Dubai? This 60,000 square feet facility has several ski slopes and a lovely little snow park for kids to play. There’s also an eatery halfway up the slopes, so you can eat and watch people ski, and imagine yourself in Switzerland for a bit.
Speeding along Dubai's coastline
Cruising Dubai’s coastline on a tour boat is one of the best ways to appreciate the city. There are plenty of photo opportunities, as the boat slows down at each famous landmark. The landscape opens up like a brilliantly-colored flower as the boat comes up on Burj Al Arab and speeds towards Palm Jumeirah. The tour boats and yachts depart from Dubai Marina; there’s plenty to admire in the city’s futuristic harbor itself, but the magnificent views of the city are even more spectacular.
Flying above Dubai’s tall landmarks
An aerial tour of Dubai’s amazing skyline on a luxury helicopter gives you a different perspective of the city’s famous landmarks, especially the tall buildings. From the air, it all looks like a manmade fairyland - the Dubai Creek sparkles, the Burj Khalifa pokes holes in the sky, and the Burj Arab looks even more magnificent. The Palm Jumeirah looks like a superbly drawn painting from up above. A night helicopter tour is even more mesmerizing, with the city lit up in a million colors and the moonlight gleaming off of the ocean and the desert.
Experiencing the sunset as never before over Burj lake
The Burj Khalifa is 452 meters tall; you ascend to the top in a high-speed elevator to peer through the special telescopes at stunning landscape above and below. The transparent deck is an architectural wonder by itself, offering the most scintillating, unobstructed 360-degree view of the sky, ocean, and desert. The Dubai Fountain, directly below you, is laid out in all its splendor, each droplet shimmering with a thousand lights. If the view during the day is great, then the sunsets and night landscapes remind you of fairyland. A land full of sparkling lights covered with a canopy of pitch black skies dotted with brilliant desert stars.
Dubai is unforgettable because no other city in the world has accomplished what it has, in a mere couple of decades. In 20 years, Dubai has moved from camel to Cadillac, taking the whole world along on a glittering journey into ‘anything is possible’ land. There are people around the world who save up all year just to blow their money during the Dubai Shopping Fest that’s held in January every year. Dubai can be addictive – a single visit just doesn’t satisfy.
Disclaimer: The article and pictures were sent by our reader Chetan Jadhav